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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

FOMC Minutes: Staff Predicts Recession Starting in Q4; Future Monetary Policy "less certain"

by Calculated Risk on 5/24/2023 02:13:00 PM

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, May 2-3, 2023. Excerpt:

The economic forecast prepared by the staff for the May FOMC meeting continued to assume that the effects of the expected further tightening in bank credit conditions, amid already tight financial conditions, would lead to a mild recession starting later this year, followed by a moderately paced recovery. Real GDP was projected to decelerate over the next two quarters before declining modestly in both the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year. Real GDP growth over 2024 and 2025 was projected to be below the staff's estimate of potential output growth. The unemployment rate was forecast to increase this year, to peak next year, and then to start declining gradually in 2025.
In discussing the policy outlook, participants generally agreed that in light of the lagged effects of cumulative tightening in monetary policy and the potential effects on the economy of a further tightening in credit conditions, the extent to which additional increases in the target range may be appropriate after this meeting had become less certain. Participants agreed that it would be important to closely monitor incoming information and assess the implications for monetary policy. In determining the extent to which additional policy firming may be appropriate to return inflation to 2 percent over time, various participants noted specific factors that should bear on future decisions on policy actions. One such factor was the degree and timing with which cumulative policy tightening restrained economic activity and reduced inflation, with some participants commenting that they saw evidence that the past years' tightening was beginning to have its intended effect. Another factor was the degree to which tighter credit conditions for households and businesses resulting from events in the banking sector would weigh on activity and reduce inflation, which participants agreed was very uncertain. Additional factors included the progress toward returning inflation to the Committee's longer-run goal of 2 percent, and the pace at which labor market conditions softened and economic growth slowed.
emphasis added